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Hundreds of well-wishers lined the streets of Canterbury on Tuesday 25th June to say farewell to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland as they leave the city after a decade.
Departing from the city’s West train station, just after 10.30 hrs, the 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (5SCOTS) marched through the crowded streets, exercising their Freedom of Canterbury for one last time. With their swords drawn and colours flying to the sound of the Battalion drums and pipes, the soldiers were accompanied by the Regimental Mascot, Cruachan IV, a Shetland pony. The parade marched through the city to the Cathedral, where a Civic Farewell Service was held.
The Service took place in the Nave and was attended by civic guests, members of the Regimental Association and families of serving soldiers. It included readings and prayers by several members of the battalion and inspirational music provided by the Cathedral Choristers and the Fujian Male Voice Choir of 5SCOTS.
Officiating and preaching was the Dean, who welcomed the congregation to an occasion “filled with thanksgiving and tinged with sadness” as the city prepares to say its goodbye.
We surround you with our affection and wish you well both now and in the future
Addressing the congregation in his Sermon, the Dean took time to reflect upon the battalion’s history and its connection with Canterbury,
We are glad that we as a city and we as a cathedral church now have an honoured place in your history and we are glad that you have chosen to lay your colours here once again before the altar of Canterbury Cathedral. You will always be part of this community.
Under Army restructuring, the battalion has been reduced to a single company and will shortly depart its base at Howe Barracks, Canterbury. The parade forms part of the battalion’s farewell to the city which has been its home for the last 10 years.
On Friday, the Queen – as the Colonel-in-Chief – is set to visit Howe Barracks to witness a final parade along with members of the wider Argyll/SCOTS family.